By Nick Casarez | sports editor
So many of us who love sports have been playing since we were little, we often take the simple privilege to play for granted. But what happens when we have that privilege taken away from us?
Chris Corza, a senior at Johnson High School, was just like so many kids; he just wanted to play soccer for as long as he could, unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards for him to play very long.
“It was just a few weeks into it that I started getting severe pains on my back, feet and hip joins that the doctor recommended to take an specific blood test call HLB 27 and to my surprise, it came back positive so I was diagnosed with a medical condition call AS or Ankylosing Spondylitis,” Chris said. “It is an auto immune condition for which there is no cure.”
Chris was diagnosed with AS or Ankylosing Spondalidis, which is the chronic inflammation of his axial skeleton, feet, and hip. The condition prevents him from any strenuous physical activity like sports, for example. Chris played soccer all the way up until his sixteenth birthday, but then it was on that fateful day that Chris received the diagnosis.
“It’s really depressing actually, to know that you can’t play the sport you love and have grown up with,” Corza said.
Chris played defender, and was really looking forward to coming into high school and getting the experience of representing his school out on the field. He realized that was in impossibility at least for the time being, but instead of sulking and feeling sorry for himself he went out and found a way to still be around the sport he loves.
“After much prayers and support, and my conversation with Coach South, he offered me the opportunity to help and become the manager of the soccer team,” Chris said. “One of my duties was to video record every game so I was excited to do that and I did game after game, week after week and year after year…. It has been an amazing journey, regardless of all of my challenges I have have the ti,e of my life, I made great friendships along the way that would last a lifetime.”
“I’ve been to every game, I go to all of the practices, and I was with the team just as much as everyone else throughout the season. It was nice getting to see the games and the practices and go through the ups and downs of the team with the team,” Corza said.
His story doesn’t end there though. He’s looking to switch to Enbrel, a more potent drug than the one he’s currently on and once he makes that switch things should be on the up and up. It will keep the AS under much more control, and even participate in sports again months down the road. For now, though, Chris is making the best of his situation. He has a job, and a loving family at home that is very supportive of his situation.
“I’m so proud of him for being able to make it through all of this, and his attitude with it all is amazing. We’re all really excited to see him get better and possibly play soccer again,” his sister Gaby Corza said.